Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Friend in low places

I agree with this statement:
"Although this seems far-fetched perhaps the world should start to take him a little more seriously"
Vdebate reporter
Friends in low places

Sep 15th 2009 CARACAS

Hugo Chávez dreams of forging a new world order

THE mountains and jungles of South America are not ideal terrain for tank warfare. So it is hard to envisage what role Venezuela’s president, Hugo Chávez, has in mind for the dozens of Russian tanks on his latest military shopping list. The strategic purpose of a recent tour that took him to some of the world’s least salubrious regimes is, however, easier to discern. And it led America’s State Department to give warning on Monday September 14th of a “serious challenge to stability” in the region.

Venezuela’s increasingly autocratic leader returned on Friday from a trip that took him to Libya, Iran, Algeria, Syria, Turkmenistan, Belarus and Russia, though he also found time for a visit Spain and the Venice film festival. On his jaunt he was decorated by Libya’s leader, Muammar Qaddafi, and embraced by Aleksandr Lukashenko, president of Belarus.

Apart from discussing weapons and oil with the Russians, he also courted condemnation by inviting Sudan’s pariah president, Omar al-Bashir, to Caracas, and breezily announced a nuclear co-operation deal with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iran's president. Since the latter revelation was made to Le Figaro, a French newspaper, it fell to the French foreign ministry to issue a curt reminder of UN Security Council resolution 1737. This explicitly forbids the export by Iran of material from its controversial nuclear programme, which Mr Chávez supports.

The trip did much to bolster Mr Chávez’s well-earned reputation for outrageous statements. But there is method to his madness. The foreign-policy section of Venezuela’s “First Socialist Plan—2007-2013” (dubbed the “Simón Bolívar National Project”) assigns an “integral political alliance” with Iran, Syria, Belarus and Russia the highest priority outside the Latin American and Caribbean region. The rationale for this curious hotchpotch of alliances is the “common anti-imperialist interests” of those five countries—the imperialist in question being America.

Among the scheme’s aims is the strengthening of national defence and sovereignty. Not only the tanks but sophisticated anti-aircraft systems make up the order to Russia. Mr Chávez, a former lieutenant-colonel in Venezuela’s army, says these weapons will make it “very difficult for foreign aircraft to come and bomb us”. Having already spent at least $4.4 billion on Russian weapons, he has now secured an additional $2.2 billion credit-line from that country to lavish on more military hardware. Three submarines are among other possible purchases, press reports say.

In pursuit of his goal to “break North American imperialist hegemony”, the Venezuelan president has deployed to the full his prime asset—the country’s oil reserves. Thus Iran was promised 20,000 barrels of petrol a day, in potential defiance of sanctions advocated by America and despite Venezuela’s current problems supplying its own markets with fuel. Russia’s national oil consortium was also assigned a patch of the Orinoco heavy oil belt.

Closer to home, Mr Chávez’s strategic plans have come a little unstuck. He has so far failed in his quest for admittance to the Mercosur trade block. ALBA, his alliance of like-minded governments, lost a member after a coup in Honduras just over six weeks ago. And he has failed to secure regional condemnation of Colombia’s decision to allow American troops to deploy in seven military bases in the country.

Undaunted, he continues to pursue “greater world leadership”. If attention is what he is seeking, he finally seems to have got it. Last week Robert Morgenthau, a veteran New York district attorney, gave warning that Venezuela’s alliance with Iran was a threat to American interests. Bank accounts in Andorra supposedly belonging to individuals close to Mr Chávez have been frozen, reportedly because of the American Treasury Department’s suspicions of links to terrorism.

Mr Chávez is determined to play in the big leagues. His avowed calculation is that by helping to stir up trouble for America in many places simultaneously, he can bring about the collapse of “the empire”. The regimes he is so assiduously cultivating are, by this account, the nucleus of a new world order. Although this seems far-fetched perhaps the world should start to take him a little more seriously.

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Sunday, September 13, 2009

Strong earthquake rocks Venezuela

CARACAS (Reuters) - A strong 6.4 magnitude earthquake shook major oil exporter Venezuela on Saturday, causing panic in the capital, Caracas, and injuring at least seven people when houses in the countryside collapsed.
The quake, the strongest in the South American nation in years, hit at about 3:40 p.m. local time (2010 GMT), authorities said. It also knocked out power in several regions.
The head of Venezuela's emergency services, Luis Diaz Curbelo, said the quake was felt across the country, but the northwestern state of Falcon was the hardest hit with seven people hurt and some buildings damaged.
The U.S. Geological Survey said the epicenter was 23 miles north-northeast of Puerto Cabello, one of the OPEC nation's main oil ports. It was below the sea at a depth of 6.2 miles.
There was no damage to any oil installation, a source at state oil company PDVSA said.
In Caracas several people were slightly hurt when thousands of shoppers stampeded out of one of the city's largest malls. In the countryside, the walls of some houses made from mud and straw bricks collapsed.
Television reported aftershocks in some regions.
One of Venezuela's main oil refineries, El Palito, and a petrochemicals complex are located in the region where the tremor was felt most strongly.
The quake also hit the country's oil heartland of Zulia, where buildings wobbled in state capital Maracaibo.
As in other cities and towns, Caracas residents fled high-rise buildings and streamed into the streets.
"I was having my hair cut when suddenly the chair started wobbling," said Caracas resident Andrea Reyna, who evacuated a hairdressing salon along with a dozen others.
"It was very strong, really frightening. The whole shop rattled. Now I can't get through to my children on the phone to see if they're OK."
Residents of apartment blocks gathered in public spaces in case of aftershocks.
"You never know. I'm not taking any risks," said Juan Fernando Lopez, standing next to a swimming pool with his three children outside one upmarket apartment block.
Cellular telephone networks jammed with the flood of calls after the tremor. A Reuters witness said power was out in one part of Caracas, and media reports said other regions were without electricity.
But Hipolito Izquierdo, head of the national electricity company, said on state television that "the electricity service is normal everywhere in the nation."
Quakes registering magnitude 6.0 or higher are considered capable of severe damage. Earlier the USGS reported said the temblor was a magnitude 7.0 quake.
"The security forces are working to gather reports of damage, in actions to recover any services, electricity, telephones, gas or water that may have failed because of the earthquake," said Jesse Chacon, minister of light industry and a close aide to President Hugo Chavez.


Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Letter to Oliver Stone

I agree 100% with this letter
vdebate reporter

Mr. Stone,

I turn to you through this letter as just one more outraged Venezuelan citizen and I say Venezuelan not because I live here but because I was born here. I’m not outraged by you liking Chavez since everybody is free to care for whoever they want. Neither because I oppose this regime, nor for the money you have received by the commander to make your documentary outlining the so called goodness of socialism. The only reason for my outrage is the fact that in your documentary you insolently lie. Even though you are the holder of Academy Awards and obviously you have worldwide recognition as well as fame and fortune, you lack of humanity, dignity and honesty.

As a Venezuelan, it is my duty to defend what’s mine, my land and my people: those people divided by colors, the red and the multicolor. You ignore the poverty and the immense tragedy that day by day us Venezuelans live. But I’m not talking about the opposition only, I’m talking about ALL of us because chavistas and non-chavistas every single day have to endure violence, unemployment, hunger, bad education and the terrible panorama of our health system. As well as observing how every day, our media outlets are closed down for not sharing the opinion of the government.

You chose to outline in your documentary the tyranny with a leader who despises his people who really are the victimes here. Do you know about the political prisoners we have today in Venezuela thanks to this regime? Innocent people who share the jails with criminals and murderers, only for demanding justice. Do you know how human rights are violated here, every day and in every corner of all our states?

How wonderful it must be to travel to Venice as a wealthy tourist spending the money that belongs to the country, while here we all suffer for having so many needs. This dictator is so shameless, he says his government is for the poor when he makes fun of our people by staying at one of the most luxurious hotels: Deas Bains with the money the Venezuelan country needs so badly and attending the Venice Film Festival as an honorable man when we have daily demands for the lack of the basic services that his government refuses to give us, basic services any nation deserves: water, electricity, sanitation, security, employment, housing… Nothing works here but we don’t get answers, only silence from that great socialism that you brag about in your documentary.

You lie so openly. For some strange reason you are smitten with Chavez. There is no doubt that the abundant dollars that he has at his disposal to attract supporters have also bought you off. But to make a documentary packed with lies about what we live in Venezuela which we can substantiate? The war here gives little by little. We have an exuberant number of selective homicides and torture on the hands of the government ever since they took power, immeasurable violence on the part of that immoral being whom you worship… to whom you adulate for being so generous with money that does not belong to him. That money that you received, and that perhaps you will continue to receive, that money, Mr. Movie Director belongs to the Venezuelan people. But what do you care? You don’t hurt for this land.

I invite you to come to Venezuela but without an escort and without the government help. Just bring your camera and a microphone. Come so we can visit the barrios that cover the Great Caracas. Only that would be enough for you to tell the truth. Come and visit our hospitals, our schools, walk our streets so you can make a real movie, showing the truth which you did not do with the last one.

According to Chavez, Mr. Stone, you’re a genius… I wonder what he would call you if you had the courage of speaking the truth. I’m sure you wouldn’t like the insults very much… let alone the fact that he wouldn’t pay you that obscene amount of money that you got this time… instead he would prosecute you, threaten you and torture you. That’s better I guess, to get paid to tell lies. That profession in my country has a name…

Where you see him, there in Venice, trying to speak well and pretending so much… he does it while here in our country he offends us all, he insults us and he orders his officials to attack us with the “good” (toxic) tear gas when we protest pacifically about something. Come here pal, so we can help you see and feel THE TRUTH! That infamous Chavez has only brought into our land hate and division among our people, something never heard of to us… brothers fighting, hating each other, killing each other because of what this dictator has instigated and planted in weak minds.

I say goodbye to you without any affection. The truth is, even if you had been honest, our situation cannot be fixed by a documentary. We have to do it because this dictator will be taken out by the people. We will see then where you stick your sham.

P.D. A picture says more than a thousand communist-ish words. You can visit my blog: so you can learn about our situation. I’m leaving here for you some videos about the real crisis of Venezuela with its needs, its pain… Do you know why Venezuela is on the 2nd place? Not because of our beautiful women who become beauty queens overseas but because of the crime… we are the 2nd most dangerous country in the world. Here you have a few videos so you can entertain and educate yourself… go make documentaries about India or Iraq, not about Venezuela. Show some respect for the pain and suffering of the Venezuelan people and stop promoting in public this sorry sabaneta dictator just because he bribes you.

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10 lessons we can learn from the rise of The Nasis

We have to learn from history........ always.
vdebate reporter

10 Lessons We Can Learn From The Rise Of The Nazis
by John Hawkins

Hitler did not rise out of a vacuum: Many people assume that another Hitler can rise up in any nation, but that's not necessarily so. Hitler's rise in Germany was not a forgone conclusion in Germany, but there were a number of conditions that made that country especially susceptible to it.
The Germans were a warlike people who were used to capitulating to authority and they had a long, rich philosophical bent towards hatred of the Jews and racial superiority. They also had minimal experience with democracy, a terrible economic crisis, the Versailles Treaty, which was an almost universally despised boot placed upon the nation's neck, and an independent military that played a powerful role in political affairs. Some nations, the United States included, have a character that simply precludes their being run by a "Hitler," no matter what the intentions of a leader may be.

All it takes for evil to win is for good men to do nothing: Many people are aware that Britain, France, Russia, and the other powers of Europe had the opportunity to stop Hitler, but the truth is that the German people had countless chances to do so as well.
When Hitler became Chancellor, the Nazi Party had never captured more than 37% of the vote and much of the rest of Germany considered them to be frightening gutter trash. In other words, 63% of the country didn't support Hitler and strongly suspected he was a dangerous man; yet they made no serious effort to stop him. On numerous occasions, Germany's political and military establishment were given excuses and openings that could have been used to bring Hitler down before he came to power and brought the nation fully under his control. Time and time again, people who knew better simply stayed quiet or decided to step aside rather than take a stand. The price Germany and the rest of the world paid for their failure to act is incalculable.
Take even non-reasonable claims seriously: Margaret Thatcher once said,
"It is one of the great weaknesses of reasonable men and women that they imagine that projects which fly in the face of commonsense are not serious or being seriously undertaken."
Hitler was not shy about telling people what he intended to do when he reached power. The first volume of Hitler's book Mein Kampf, which included a very rough blueprint of his plans, came out in 1925. Hitler became Chancellor of Germany in 1933 and he swallowed Austria in 1938. Had Europe's leaders simply taken Hitler at his word about what he wanted to do and acted appropriately, he would have been squashed like a bug and humankind would have been spared another world war.
Watch what people do more than what they say: This one may seem to be a bit of a contradiction with the last one, so let me explain.
Surprisingly often, people with bad intentions will tell their followers exactly what they intend to do and then, when confronted by a power that could potentially stop them, whether it be another nation or just the voters who can put them out of office, they will simply lie.
So, if you're not sure what a nation or a leader truly intends, pay more intention to what they do than what they say. It takes a true fool to believe words over actions, but such fools were not in short supply during Hitler's day, nor are they uncommon today.
Diplomacy for its own sake is useless: There was no shortage of diplomacy between Hitler, his victims, and the great powers of the day. The problem was then, as it often is now, that so many people seemed to believe that diplomacy was an end unto itself. Hitler happily met with the representatives from other nations and either bullied them or told them what they wanted to hear. Then, he promptly did whatever he intended to do in the first place. That's why talk alone is meaningless and can even be detrimental if people mistake merely conversing for progress. If you have no carrots and sticks to bring to the table in order to produce the outcome you want, you are wasting your time.
Appeasement is a mistake: When you reward a behavior, it usually occurs more often. So, when a belligerent nation or group benefits from its belligerence, it should surprise no one when it continues to be belligerent. That principle applied to Hitler and it most certainly still applies today.
The mediocrity of political "leaders:" We have a tendency to believe that our political leaders are much better, smarter, and more capable than the average person. In some cases, that's true -- but today, as in Hitler's day, men like Churchill were rare as hens’ teeth while shortsighted, gullible, and foolish "leaders" were the rule. Those who are deeply skeptical of the competence and claims of their political leaders will find that history is almost always on their side.
Be very wary of people building power outside the rule of law: In 1923, Hitler tried to take over Germany with the poorly executed Beer Hall Putsch. Despite the fact that Hitler was convicted of High Treason, a sympathetic judge sentenced him to a mere five years, of which he only served nine months. Additionally, Hitler's own private army, the Brownshirts & the SS, assaulted his enemies, disrupted their political gatherings, and generally paved the way for his rise to power. This is an example of why allowing certain political groups and parties to be "above the law" can be a great threat to democracy.
There are things worse than war: More than 400 years before the rise of Hitler, Machiavelli wrote:
"One should never allow chaos to develop in order to avoid going to war, because one does not avoid a war but instead puts it off to his disadvantage."Had Britain and France acted when Hitler sent his troops into the Rhineland, threatened Austria, or even Czechoslovakia -- they could have stopped Hitler at little cost. While it's wise to fear war, it's better to go to war to eliminate a small danger than to allow it to metastasize into a dire threat to your way of life and simply hope against hope that you won't have to deal with it one day.
Everybody's not "another Hitler:" Know who's not another Hitler? Pretty much everybody who ever lived except for Adolph Hitler. Maybe you could get away with referring to Stalin or even Pol Pot as "another Hitler," but some off-hand comment in a speech or a policy people disagree with doesn't make a politician "another Hitler." Likewise, a 70 year old guy who gets testy with his congressman at a town hall meeting isn't a "Brownshirt" either. American politics could do with quite a bit less "You're a Nazi" rhetoric being tossed around by both sides.

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Saturday, September 5, 2009

No more Chavez Pictures

Pictures from El UNIVERSAL - Venezuela.
Vdebate reporter

Washington in from of the OAS - US
Paris - France

Toronto - Canada

Barcelona - Spain

Madrid Spain

Sidney - Australia
Tenerife - Spain
Barquisimeto - Venezuela

Merida Venezuela

Puerto Ordaz - Venezuela

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Colombians, Venezuela protest over Chavez actions

Colombians protest in streets over Chavez actions
By Luis Jaime Acosta
Reuters Friday, September 4, 2009; 5:52 PM
BOGOTA (Reuters) - Several thousand people marched in the streets of Colombia's major cities on Friday to protest against what they criticize as meddling by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez as tensions rise between the Andean neighbors.
Chanting "No More Chavez" and waving Colombian flags, the marches snaked through Bogota. They were accompanied by smaller protests on Friday in other cities including Caracas, Miami and Madrid after organizers called for demonstrations in North America and Europe through the Internet social networks Facebook and Twitter.
Venezuela and Colombia are caught in a diplomatic dispute fueled by Bogota's charges the Chavez government supports Colombian FARC rebels and over a Colombian plan to allow U.S. troops more access to its military bases. U.S. foe Chavez warns the dispute threatens more than $7 billion in bilateral trade.
"Chavez has to know that Latin America doesn't belong to him," said Miguel Fierro, one protest organizer.

Chavez, a Cuba ally who urges socialist revolution to counter U.S. influence, says allowing the U.S. military more access to Colombian bases for anti-drug and counter-guerrilla missions is a threat to Venezuela and South America.
Colombian President Alvaro Uribe and U.S. officials say the plan does not include using the bases to attack other nations. But Chavez has ordered Colombian imports replaced with goods from other countries, though bilateral trade is still flowing.
In Bogota and other cities, protesters carried banners demanding Chavez respect Colombian sovereignty and images mocking the Venezuelan leader who has dismissed the marches against him as "stupid."
"We're protesting with our Colombian brothers because we know what we have in Venezuela is a tyranny, a dictatorship disguised as a democracy," said Maurilio Gonzalez, a Venezuelan engineer marching in Bogota.
In Miami, 200-300 Chavez opponents, mostly Venezuelan and Cuban exiles carrying banners and Venezuelan and Cuban flags, held a rally in a waterfront park.
They carried a large stuffed ape wearing the Venezuelan leader's trademark red paratrooper's beret and bearing a sign reading "No more Chavez" in Spanish.
"Chavez is a paper tiger; he doesn't have power. Power belongs to the people who can defy him," one speaker, Elio Aponte, told the Miami crowd.
The Colombian government recently protested before the Organization of American States over Chavez's "interventionist" project after the leftist leader ordered members of his party to reach out to sympathetic Colombian lawmakers and citizens.
Ties between OPEC member Venezuela and Colombia have soured before in the last five years: once over the arrest of a Colombian rebel in Caracas and last year when Colombian troops killed another guerrilla boss hiding in Ecuador. But trade and diplomatic ties soon resumed after both incidents.
(Additional reporting by Carlos Barria in Miami; Writing by Patrick Markey; Editing by Eric Walsh)

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No more Chavez - around the world

Multi-city protests call for 'No More Chavez'
Susana Londono
Opponents of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez held protests Friday against the leftist leader in cities across Latin America, in an effort coordinated through Twitter, Facebook and a Web site titled "No More Chavez!"
They grasped banners and signs with images of Chavez in a straitjacket and wearing a red clown nose. "Chavez, the shame of Bolivia," read a banner in the Bolivian capital of La Paz.
Police in Colombia estimated more than 5,000 marched in Bogota waving flags. Thousands also took to the streets in the capitals of Venezuela and Honduras. Some said they were protesting what they called Chavez's growing authoritarianism, while others said he should stop meddling in other countries' affairs.
Honduras' interim leader, Roberto Micheletti, defended the June coup that deposed Chavez ally Manuel Zelaya while addressing protesters in Tegucigalpa.
"Any politician who tries to stay in power by hitching up with a dictator like Hugo Chavez, he won't achieve it," Micheletti said. "We'll stop him."
Chavez — who was traveling in Syria — ridiculed the protests on Thursday, likening Micheletti to a gorilla and saying: "Those who want to march, march with 'gorill-etti,' the dictators, the extreme right."
Chavez supporters held smaller counter-demonstrations in Caracas, where about 100 people gathered, and elsewhere.
Turnout for the global anti-Chavez protest was far from massive in many cities. Crowds ranging from a dozen to 200 people gathered in New York, Sao Paulo, Madrid, Panama City and the capitals of Argentina and Ecuador.
Protest organizer Marcela Garzon in Colombia said there were no figures available on how many people participated globally, and that more important than the number was the opportunity to "express ourselves."
"The quantity doesn't interest us, but rather the quality," Garzon said.
Associated Press writers Fabiola Sanchez in Caracas, Venezuela, and Freddy Cuevas in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, contributed to this report.
The Associated Press

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